The 2012 World Show in Austria

In February, the 2012 World Taxidermy Championships® was held in Salzburg, Austria for the second time (the first being four years ago in 2008). As a member of the World Show Regulatory Committee and the Vice Chairman of the competition, I was privileged to be invited to attend by show organizers Larry and Kathy Blomquist, Reed Exhibitions® Messe Salzburg and Breakthrough Magazine to help oversee the event.

Competition Area
It is always a treat to see how conventions are organized in other countries. The Europeans really know how to put on a show! The facility was outstanding. Housed in a brand new exhibition hall less than one year old, the taxidermy competition area was the nicest I have ever seen. The spotless new display tables, red carpet, professional signage and organization helped to present the art of taxidermy in an impressive light for the estimated 50,000 members of the public who came by to take a look.

The huge crowds who came to visit the Hohe Jagd & Fischerei game fair in Salzburg, Austria did not go away disappointed. Hunting and taxidermy enthusiasts marveled at the beautiful artistic displays representing the work of taxidermists from 22 different countries. The creativity was superb! And the species represented were definitely more exotic and unusual than we are used to seeing at taxidermy shows in the US.

Some Videos of The World Show

Here are a few videos from various sources that will give you a good feel for the experience of the 2012 World Taxidermy Championships in Austria. This short time-lapse film by Kate Knight gives you an idea of the crowds viewing the taxidermy display area.

Austria WTC 2012 part of a documentary time-lapse

Here is a local newscast (in German) covering the show. The European hunters were decked out in their finest hunting attire. Hunting and fishing seem to be more formal endeavors over there than we treat them back home.

Weltbeste Tierpräparate in Salzburg

This is Reed Exhibition’s video recap of the entire show (in German). You can get a feel for the size of the game fair side of the show. It spanned several exhibit halls and would have taken a few days to visit every trade show booth.

Hohe Jagd und Fischerei mit absolut allrad und Weltmeisterschaft der Präparatoren 2012

This video by Kanal von MrLighthunter shows a lot of good close-ups of many of the mounts in the competition.

Weltmeisterschaft der Präparatoren

Major Award Winners

When Larry and Kathy Blomquist of Louisiana announced the winners of the 2012 World Champion titles, dozens of press representatives covered the highly anticipated announcements, which were broadcast live on national TV through the European equivalent of ESPN. Taxidermy is gaining a new respect in Europe as a legitimate art form, and the media is assisting in getting the message out to the public. The public perception of taxidermy as the dusty deer head over the mantle is evolving into the reality of today’s modern taxidermy art displays.

The next issue (Summer 2012) of Breakthrough Magazine will feature the beautiful studio photography with the major award winners. In the meantime, here are a few snapshots that I made of the winning entries during the show, along with the names of the winners and their country of origin. World Show competitors will note that some of the European World title categories are different from the North American ones.

Leucistic Long-Eared Owl and Long-Tailed Tits
Jan Fredriksson and Lennart Pettersson of Sweden
Best in World Collective Artists

Silver Washed Fritillary (at about 50x of actual size)
Detlev Gregorczyk of Germany
Best in World Re-Creation and Model

Greater White-Toothed Shrew Family
Christian Blumenstein of Germany
Best in World P.E.G. or Freeze-Dry Process

House Mouse Skeleton
Elco Bouwman of the Netherlands
Best in World Skeleton

Sea Robin
Bo Wessman of Sweden
Best in World Reproduction

Hans Niedermair of Austria
Best in World Large Mammal

South American Coatimundi Cub
Jan Panniger of Germany
Best in World Small Mammal

Robert Stein of Germany
Best in World Small Bird

Yellow Baboon
Laszlo Bago of Hungary
Best in World Small-Medium Gamehead Shoulder Mount

Roe Deer
Maurice Bouten of The Netherlands
Best in World Roe Deer Gamehead Shoulder Mount

Marie Chrstin Scheinpflug, Germany
Best Novice Entry

Common Duiker
Martin Berndt, Germany
Professional Best of Category, Small Mammal Head/Shoulder Mounts

Pronghorn Antelope (Female)
Steven Newcombe, Great Britain
Professional Best of Category, Large Mammal Head/Shoulder Mounts

Barn Owl
René Diebitz, Germany
Professional Best of Category, Small Birds

René Diebitz, Germany
Professional Best of Category, Large Birds

Red Fox
René Diebitz, Germany
Professional Best of Category, Small Mammals

Black-and White Ruffed Lemur
Matthias Studte, Germany
Professional Best of Category, Medium Mammals

Saiga Antelope
Fomenko Alexander, Russia
Professional Best of Category, Large Mammals

Song Thrush Skeleton
Dominik Speleman, Belgium
Professional Best of Category, Skeletons

Grant’s Gazzelle
Peter Cua, Philipines
Professional Best of Category, Reproductions and Re-Creations

Common Marmoset
Matthias Studte, Germany
Professional Best of Category, P.E.G. Process

Competitors Awards Professional Division
7th Place €250, Steven Newcombe, Great Britain
6th Place €250, Dominik Speleman, Belgium
5th Place €250, Roland Kaiser, Germany
4th Place €250, Umberto Graziano, Italy
3rd Place €500, Florian Polenski, Germany
2nd Place €1000, Matthias Studte, Germany
1st Place €1500, René Diebitz, Germany

Competitors Awards Master Division
7th Place €250, Elco Bowman, The Netherlands
6th Place €250, Jan Fredriksson, Sweden
5th Place €250, Maurice Bouten, The Netherlands
4th Place €250, Christian Blumenstein, Germany
3rd Place €1000, Stephan Weigl, Austria
2nd Place €1500, Marco Fischer, Germany
1st Place €2000, Robert Stein, Germany

Scorpion Fly (at about 100x actual size)
Detlev Gregorczyk, Germany
E.T.F Award

Himalayan Monal
Marco Fischer, Germany
Taxidermists’ Choice Award

Uwe Bauch, Germany
Master of Masters Award, Third Place (Tie)

Harlequin Duck
Lennart Pettersson, Sweden
Master of Masters Award, Third Place (Tie)

Hans Niedermair, Austria
Master of Masters Award, Second Place

Rüppel’s Vulture
Robert Stein, Germany
Master of Masters Award, First Place

Robert Stein, Germany
Simon T. Blackshaw Award for Judges’ Choice Best of Show

Parties and Banquets

Austrians and Germans know how to have a good time. Beer seems to be the national drink and it is served with every meal except breakfast. I drank more beer in my two weeks in Austria than I had in the four years since the previous European WTC. The Friday night awards banquet was held in the cellar of the Stiegal Brewery, where they have been brewing beer continuously since 1492! The impressive program featured gourmet food, live music, a professional master of ceremonies and government dignitaries.

On Saturday night, Reed Exhibitions hosted a huge party for all of the game fair exhibitors with a live polka band, Austrian delicacies, and more beer. By the end of the night there were about 100 people dancing on top of the tables. Somewhere there exists a video of me joining the band onstage for a rousing version of “Sweet Home Alabama”, but (un)fortunately, I could not find it to include here.

The next World Taxidermy Championships® will be held in Springfield, Illinois on May 7-11, 2013. See for more information.

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